Breda Ba.88 (Lince) Heavy Fighter / Light Bomber / Ground Attack Aircraft
The Breda Ba.88 Lince arrived in pre-war Italy during 1938 and was quickly retired in 1941 once the fighting started.
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Following the failure of the proposed Breda Ba.75 product (just one example was completed), intended to fulfill a reconnaissance / ground attack role for the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force), the service passed along a new requirement in 1936 calling for a heavy fighter aircraft with a maximum speed of 329 miles per hour, a range out to 1,240 miles and standardized armament consisting of 20mm automatic cannons. This was to become a powerful, high-speed, heavy gun platform to outmatch all others of its kind and provide a true "bomber killer" for the Italian air service. To fall in line with heavy fighters of the day, a two-seat, twin-engined monoplane wing arrangement with all-metal skinning was envisioned.
The resultant design became the Breda Ba.88 which was debuted in 1937 and proved a promising venture in the early going. The aircraft was well-streamlined and carried its engines in nacelles along the wing leading edges. The cockpit was situated along the fuselage and aft of a nose cone assembly. The fuselage then tapered towards the tail to which a pair of rounded vertical fins was fitted. A conventional tail-dragger undercarriage arrangement was used with all legs wholly retractable into the design. Internally the aircraft was given a load-bearing structure which dated its otherwise advanced form. Self-sealing fuel tanks were standard within though internal space was such that a modest bombload was forced to be carried externally. Standard armament was 3 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns in the nose while the second crewmember managed a trainable 7.7mm installation at the rear cockpit. Provision was made to install a 20mm automatic cannon in place of one of the nose-mounted 12.7mm fits.
Power for the prototype was served from 2 x Isotta-Fraschini K14 series engines but production forms carried 2 x Piaggio P.XI RC.40 "Stella" 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines of 1,000 horsepower each. These drove three-bladed propelled units. Maximum speed for the mark reached 304 miles per hour with a range out to 1,019 miles and a service ceiling of 26,250 feet. 10,000 feet could be reached in about 7.5 minutes.